Wait. I thought this was a blog about cooking and carefully crafted food… Ramen is frugal, I guess, but it doesn’t seem like it belongs with some of the other topics you post about. What’s going on?!?
Maybe, just like we did for the past decades of our life, when you see the word ramen, you’re thinking about something that looks like this:
And don’t get us wrong. That stuff is delicious. Especially when you find a slightly less-Americanized brand that doesn’t hold back when it comes to flavor (and ridiculous amounts of sodium). I know how good it is, because that’s a picture of the bowl I had for lunch today.
But – there’s a whole other world of Ramen out there that’s just waiting to be explored. The last few weeks have been the perfect storm for Ramen and me. I’ve had 3 ramen meals (not including today’s lunch and other not-to-be-mentioned noodle bowls) in the last 3 weeks. All have been fantastic, though there’s a clear pecking order:
1. Umaido – a place WAY out in Suwanee, GA, clearly had the best. Different levels of spice were available, as was the option of regular vs. rich soup (rich soup of course!), but it was the deep and nuanced flavor of the tonkotsu broth that made this the clear winner. The generous slabs of pork belly didn’t hurt either.
2. Yakitori Jinbei – on the other side of North Atlanta in Cobb County. Fantastic spicy pork ramen – a bit on the salty side (even for Ramen), but a good hearty bowl that’s perfect on a cold day.
3. Miso Izakaya – a place that we love for dinner, but lost in the Ramen category. They only sell their ramen at lunch time and in extremely limited quantities. It’s good – and kind of a modern, upscale take on the typical ramen – worth trying, but given the price and the hassle of getting there early, not sure it’s a regular ramen visit for me.
One of these days, we’ll get up the nerve to try and make a good authentic ramen ourselves. In the meantime, we’ll keep getting bowls from our favorites, trying new places, and getting ideas from shows like Mind of a Chef (a Bourdain/David Chang venture on PBS that’s phenomenal… particularly the Ramen episode!)
In the meantime – we also encourage you to challenge your instant ramen preconceptions and find a good bowl near you. And! if you have advice on making some, send it our way!